Accountability

Accountability

Accountability is one of our core values. Our full organizational accountability policies are copied below. These policies are adapted from the policy manual of NARIX where SweetZephyr is a steering committee member and collaborated with our veteran organizers to develop organizational policies.

tl;dr
 

  1. You can use this form to initiate a mediation process with a professional mediator regarding HK as an organization or its leaders, or how its decisions have impacted you or the community. We pay for the mediation fees.
     

  2. You can use this form to report concerns regarding HK staff instructors or TAs or HK students. This form goes to SweetZephyr and will initiate the incident response process outlines below.
     

  3. HK has an advisory board composed of the following members:

    1. Shay Tiziano (US, San Francisco): shay.sfblondie@gmail.com

    2. Ivy Limieux (US, Oakland): ivylimieux.rope@gmail.com

    3. Tornus (US, Seattle): tornus@tornus.com

    4. Ebi McKnotty (Canada, Quebec City): ebimcknotty@gmail.com



 

 

  1. Background

    1. HK’s accountability policies are informed by its values, experience in the community, and organizational capacity.

      HK believes in taking responsibility for the impacts of the behavior of HK staff, students, and the organization as a whole. HK responds to issues by seeking to engage in repair work to pursue the restoration of injured parties and rebuilding of trust.

      HK  recognizes that accountability is a complex process with multiple goals, and seeks to transparently identify what HK as an organization has the capacity to address.

      HK recognizes that accountability comes in many forms. One aspect of accountability is supporting the healing process of people who were harmed. A second aspect of accountability is addressing the harmful behaviors of the people who cause harm. A third aspect of accountability is protecting the community from harm.

      While all of these goals are critical to community health, HK must prioritize its resources to commit to working to protect community safety. We will do what we can to support people who have experienced harm in our community, and to help members of our community who have committed harm who would like to change their behavior, but these are complex processes that may require resources beyond what we can commit.

      While HK will work to compile resources to support individuals who were harmed and help people who cause harm address their behavior, the focus of HK accountability is on community safety.

       

  2. Accountability Processes

    1. HK accountability policies distinguish between types of incidents that would be appropriate to handle internally, and incidents that would be best handled by an external third party.
       

    2. Situations that Require External Accountability Processes

      1. Accusations of serious abuse or sexual misconduct against senior organizational leadership

      2. Serious issues of organizational or ethical misconduct
         

    3. Situations That Can Be Handled Internally

      1. Any situation that doesn’t fall into the above categories and which HK leadership  does not feel the need to escalate to an external process.
         

    4. Accountability Timelines

      1. In general, HK believes accountability work requires time and thoughtfulness to be done well. It will work to do what is right rather than what is quick or convenient.

        Issues that are not an imminent crisis will go through the deliberative process of consideration and communication outlined below and depending on the complexity of the issue, may take up to several months to work through.

        On a case by case basis, HK leadership may decide a situation requires urgent response, and in those cases, will take interim action as appropriate.
         

    5. External Processes

      1. At this time, HK  feels that third party accountability work is best done by professionals with experience in kink, sex positive communities, and conflict mediation. HK maintains relationships with mediators that are on standby to help us resolve conflicts. Initial mediation fees are paid by HK.

        A network of professional mediators that can be available to receive reports that fall under the categories above is being built.

        The current list of mediators HK has a relationship with  are:

        1. Misha Bonaventura, a Bay Area based veteran sex positive community organizer and professional mediator at Clearing Conversations

        2. Additional sources TBD
           

  3. Organizational Level Accountability

    1. HK works to be accountable for instances where its organizational behavior or decision making has failed to align with our values or policies.

      The processes below outline the steps that will be taken when issues are brought to its attention.
       

    2. Filing a Report

      1. In general, HK staff and leadership are committed to being responsive to feedback, accepting criticism, and immediately working towards repair or policy/behavioral adjustment when we fall short of our values or have a negative impact on our community members. We encourage anyone to approach us directly at any time with concerns or requests, via Discord DM or email at info@heartlandkinbaku.com

      2. If an individual is not comfortable approaching us directly, they can contact any of our advisory board members as an intermediary.
         

      3. If an individual desires a professional mediation, they can use this form.


         

    3. What happens when a report is submitted

      1. Reports submitted through the HK Organizational Incident Report form will go directly to the designated third party professional mediators listed above and will not be viewed directly by HK staff.
         

      2. The mediator will read through the report and assess the circumstances of the incident and the requests of the reporter. If the person reporting just wants information to be provided to HK, and/or a policy change, the organization will begin work on that issue.

        If the person reporting would like a more in depth mediation process, HK will pay the fees for the mediator and the process will begin when all parties are ready.
         

      3. A typical mediation process includes the following steps:

        1. The mediator will reach out to all parties to coordinate logistics for the conversations that will take place

        2. The mediator will initially meet with both parties to get a sense of their experience and perspective and prepare for the group session

        3. The mediator will guide the group through a session to discuss the issues and work towards resolution and repair.

        4. On a case by case basis, additional meetings or follow up conversations may be appropriate.
           

    4. HK’s Responses

      This is a list of some of the potential actions HK will take in response to a report. The unique facts and circumstances of each situation may dictate additional responses.

       

      1. Reviewing and updating policies if the organization’s policies are not serving the community or having impacts in line with our values
         

      2. Addressing a situation in which the organization or a staff member or leader failed to implement a current policy as written by seeking repair work with the individuals impacted.
         

      3. Removing staff from their teaching or leadership positions within the organization if HK leadership loses confidence that they can work in alignment with our values or if it feels the safety and well being of the community is not served by the staff member remaining in their position.
         

  4. Accountability for HK instructors and TAs

    1. This section addresses situations involving the behavior of HK instructors and staff, which could include actions taken in our educational spaces, or harm caused in the general community outside of our spaces.

      HK acknowledges that kink is a high risk activity and that even well intentioned players make mistakes or misjudgments, but holds our staff members to a high standard of taking responsibility for themselves, addressing the impacts of their behavior, and working to change harmful behavior patterns.
       

    2. Individuals who experience harm or have concerns about an HK TA or Instructor can report them using this form. HK will do its best to respect how the person who reports to us wants the matter to be handled, and will do its best to work with those who report in a way they feel most comfortable.

      HK’s goal with incident reporting is to promote community safety, in line with our philosophy laid out above.

      If HK receives information that leads to the belief that an individual, group and/or venue doesn't align with our values or poses a threat to community safety, it plans to act on that information to either work with the reported individual to ensure the harm is addressed, remove individual/s from our spaces, or not work with a venue, dependent on the specifics of the situation.
       

    3. Individuals can use this form for filing a report concerning HK TAs and Instructors


 

  1. What happens when a report is filed
     

    1. This form goes directly to Zach.
       

    2. On a case by case basis, depending on the severity of the misconduct and the time urgency of the situation, staff members may be temporarily relieved of responsibility for specific aspects of teaching or space management, or of all of their responsibilities as a staff member, until the process can be completed and a final decision arrived at regarding the best path forward.
       

    3. Zach may discuss the situation with advisory board members, with Kanna-sensei, or other members of senior HK leadership, provided they were not the subject of the report.
       

    4. If the reporter indicated on the form that they want or are open to discuss the issue further, Zach will reach out to schedule a meeting. Additional advisory board members or senior leadership members may also attend the meeting.
       

    5. All reports made will result in an investigation, unless the reporter specifically requests there not be an investigation due to a threat to their safety or well being.
       

    6. During the investigation process, HK  may choose to interview any and all parties involved in or who witnessed the incident. These interviews may require multiple interactions and follow up conversations.
       

    7. Zach and senior leadership will decide if further action needs to be taken if it believes an individual, group, or venue doesn’t align with its values, or if it feels the situation poses a threat to community safety.
       

    8. HK will notify the people involved of its decisions with as much information as it can share, based on the committee's and reporter’s physical and legal safety needs.
       

    9. If an individual, group, or venue has been removed from involvement with HK, HK will be open to discussions after 6 months if the individual(s) demonstrates they've gone through an accountability process, have changed their behavior, and feel they can align with HK values.